Lael C. Lee

Lael C. Lee

June 28, 1921 - December 04, 2016

Lael C. Lee

June 28, 1921 - December 04, 2016


Lael C. Lee, Jr. passed away on Dec. 4, 2016. He was born June 28, 1921 to Carolyn (nee Kracht) and Lael C. Lee, Sr. in Turlock, California. The family was agricultural, and his father was best known for developing an industry standard for gassing melons to expedite ripening.

Lael Lee was raised in Los Angeles and attended Los Angeles High School and the University of Southern California and was active in Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Prior to his commissioning in the United States Army Air Corps, Lael held leadership positions in student government at USC. On April 28, 1945, while commissioned, he married Renee Overell in Denver, Colorado.

During the Second World War, Capt. Lael Lee was a photo reconnaissance officer and served in the Pacific theater. Following his honorable discharge, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Cinema at USC. He then moved his wife, Renee and daughter, Melinda Ann Lee (born in 1947) to Mesa, AZ where he was Sales Manager for Earle Recker, a prominent Arizona melon grower. Two sons, Christopher Saenz Lee (born in 1948) and Stephen Charles Lee (born in 1954) followed, and the family lived in the Phoenix area for approximately 25 years.

In the early 1960s, Lael joined Bennett W. Brown and Halbert Moller, and they operated as Growers Exchange, Inc., a growing and packing company that was best known for handling lettuce, celery, broccoli, and other produce and row and field crops. In 1972, Lael and Renee moved to Salinas, California where they lived for approximately 20 years. Other farming ventures with Bill Brown and Hal Moller included Associated Produce Distributors, Holtville Farms, and Blythe Farms. Lael Lee was a former Past President of both the Produce Marketing Association and the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California as well as a former Chairman of Western Growers Association.

During the 1990s, Lael and Renee had homes in Palm Desert and Dana Point, California where they spent their elder years. Renee preceded Lael in death on September 17, 2011. Lael C. Lee, Jr. is survived by his children, Melinda Lee Jackson, Christopher S. Lee, Stephen C. Lee; 8 grandchildren; and 7 great grandchildren.

A Catholic Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Dana Point, CA on Dec. 13, 2016 at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Catholic Charities of Orange County,

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2 responses to Lael C. Lee

  1. Karen Craig says:

    I just found out about Uncle Lael’s passing. I am so sorry for your loss. It has been many years since I saw him (he was my great uncle, Laura Lee was my grandmother) but I do have fond memories of being at their parent’s house (Lael Sr. and Carrie) in Los Angeles. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    Karen Craig (nee Goss)

  2. I am very sorry to hear that Lael Lee has passed. In reading his obituary, it appears he had a very good life. I am a distant relative. Lael’s sister, Laura Caroline Lee was my grandmother. That would make Lael my great uncle, I believe. My thoughts are with you and the family during this sad time. Patti (Goss) Caraska

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